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Difference Between IP Addressing and Subnetting

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In computing networks, IP addressing and sub-networks are linked ideas. The subnet is the act of dividing a network into smaller subnets, or subnets, while IP addressing is the process of giving unique addresses to devices over a network.

IP Addressing

Each device that uses a network receives an IP address, which is a special identifier number. IP addresses are necessary for routing packets of data between devices and for enabling Internet communication between devices. Dotted decimal notation, which depicts four sets of dig The network, separated by periods, is the most common way to express IP addresses. The address is 32 bits, and every number corresponds to a byte of the address.

There are two primary forms of IP addresses IPv4 and IPv6. Because of the 32-bit length and the limited amount of unique IPv4 addresses, subnets and various methods for storing IP addresses have been developed. There are many more unique addresses available for IPv6 addresses that are 128-bit.


A network is divided into smaller subnetworks, or subnetworks, through the process known as a subnetwork. For this purpose, a network part of the IP address is created by taking bits from the host part. The host party identifies the specific device on the subnetwork, while the network party identifies the subnetwork as a whole.

The sub-network enables network managers to create more controllable and segmented networks for performance or security needs. For example, a large enterprise could segment its network into subnetworks for multiple divisions or locations.

A subnet mask, a 32-bit integer that denotes the network component of the IP address, is commonly used to represent subnetting. The subnet mask is stated in binary form to make it simpler to comprehend which bits are being used for the network section and which bits are being used for the host portion. The netmask is represented as a dotted decimal notation, similar to an IP address.

Difference Table

Parameters  IP Addressing Subnetting
Purpose Assign unique identifiers to devices on a network. Divide a network into smaller subnetworks for better management and performance.
Process Assigns unique IP addresses to devices on a network. Divides a network into smaller subnets by borrowing bits from the host portion of the IP address to create a network portion.
Result Each device on the network has a unique IP address. The network is broken down into smaller subnets, each with its own unique network ID and range of IP addresses.
Benefits Enables devices to communicate with each other over the Internet. Improves network performance and security by reducing network congestion, isolating network traffic, and making it easier to manage IP address assignments and security.
Types IPv4 and IPv6 CIDR (Classless Inter-Domain Routing)
Notation Dotted decimal notation (e.g., Subnet mask (e.g., or CIDR notation (e.g., /24)
Length 32 bits (IPv4) or 128 bits (IPv6) Variable (depends on the number of bits borrowed for the network portion of the IP address).

In conclusion, subnetting and IP addressing are both crucial ideas in computer networking. In contrast to subnetting, which involves partitioning a network into smaller subnetworks, IP addressing involves giving each device on a network a distinct address. The sub-network enables network managers to create smaller, more manageable networks that can be split for performance or security reasons.

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Last Updated : 24 Feb, 2023
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